Teeth Gap Treatment and Prevention
While teeth crowding gets most of the attention when it comes to teeth misalignment, gaps in teeth can be just as much of a problem.
Gaps between teeth (known medically as diastema) are a common occurrence, either occurring naturally or being caused by uncorrected lip ties, thumb sucking as a child, or gum disease.
Teeth gaps can appear unattractive, as well as can cause health problems if left untreated. If you have a teeth gap that you’re concerned about, don’t wait to make a consultation to gauge its severity and see what can be done about it.
The sooner the gap is treated, the better.
Problems With Teeth Gaps
Many people who live with a gap between their teeth experience self-consciousness and embarrassment, especially if the gap is located in the front of the mouth and is easily visible. This can lead to hesitancy to smile and cause self-esteem problems to develop.
A teeth gap can lead to food becoming regularly trapped in the space between teeth.
If you’re not careful, food traps such as this can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
This is especially true if the gap is located in the back of your mouth, where it’s not easily visible or accessible.
Floss carefully and brush regularly to prevent food from collecting in the gap between your teeth.
While teeth gaps are not usually accompanied by pain, severe gaps can cause discomfort or pain because the teeth are loosening more than they should. Discomfort can become worse while biting or chewing, particularly with hard foods.
Solutions to Teeth Gaps
Now that you know why teeth gaps are a problem for concern, don’t despair! You don’t have to live with a tooth gap forever thank to Tooth Gap Treatments.
There are many things you can do to close the gap and achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you’ve always dreamed of.
Teeth gap filling is not a one-size-fits-all solution; there are several different approaches to treatment which we’ll overview here.
See a Quality Orthodontist
First thing first: see a specialist.
There are many choices out there in the medical and dental professions today, and it can be overwhelming at times to know who to go to about a health problem.
Be aware that dentists don’t have the expertise to deal with all teeth gaps. Instead, you should see an orthodontic specialist.
Orthodontists have the experience and ability to help you assess the severity of your teeth gap, judge whether or not treatment is needed, and, if needed, know which treatment will work best in your situation.
Orthodontists are specifically trained and licensed to treat tooth gap problems.
If you’re near Kingwood, Texas we would love to have you visit us at Kimbrough Orthodontics for a personal consultation. We have many years of experience solving teeth alignment problems, and can answer all of your questions and alleviate your fears about teeth gaps.
This is the cheapest “fix” for less severe teeth gaps.
Teeth-effect bands are small, inexpensive rubber bands that can be self-applied.
You place them over both teeth that you want to bring closer together and sleep with them on during the night.
However, like most “quick fixes,” teeth-effect bands have their downsides.
In order to be effective, they must be used frequently and consistently. They can also be painful as they work to move teeth together.
Another downside is that as the teeth begin to move, other teeth can be pulled out of alignment and new alignment problems can be created.
Never utilize solutions such as this without consulting an orthodontist first.
Teeth alignment is the best long-term, permanent solution to teeth gaps.
Braces take into consideration the entire mouth, not just the one gap.
Braces can fix a gap as well as an overbite, underbite, teeth crowding, or any other alignment problems you may be experiencing.
An orthodontist can help you decide if braces are the best solution for all of your teeth.
Dental bonding may be a good solution if you’re just looking for a cosmetic fix to a simple gap.
A bonding procedure involves a dentist applying a resin the same color as your teeth to the insides of both teeth, filling the tooth gap.
Bonding is not the best choice if you have a severe, large gap, or if you have other alignment problems as well. Keep in mind also that resin, while very strong, is not invincible and can sometimes wear or chip and need repair.
Veneers or Crowns
Dental veneers and crowns are a similar solution to bonding.
Veneers and crowns are porcelain or ceramic “shells” that adhere to existing teeth.
The difference between them is that crowns encase the tooth entirely, whereas veneers just cover the outer front side of the tooth.
Sometimes removing some existing tooth enamel is needed in order to put veneers or crowns in place.
There are some ultra-thin veneers that can be applied without removing enamel, but they are more costly.
Be aware that bonding, veneers, and crowns are all considered cosmetic, elective procedures and therefore are usually not covered by health or dental insurance. Like bonding, veneers and crowns can also become worn or chipped over time and need repair or replacement.
Preventing Teeth Gaps
If you’re concerned about your child or yourself developing teeth gaps, there are some steps you can take to help avoid them. While some gaps occur naturally due to disproportion between teeth and jawbone size or missing teeth, there are some causes that can and should be avoided from a young age:
- Thumb Sucking. If your young child sucks his or her thumb or fingers, the habit should be stopped as soon as possible. Thumb sucking puts unnatural pressure on the space between certain teeth (especially the top front teeth), causing a gap to form.
- Lip Ties. Another cause of teeth gaps is unrevised lip ties, which is when the tissue (the labial frenum) above the two front teeth is too large and restricts lip movement. An oversized labial frenum can causes a tooth gap by growing down in between the two front teeth. Lip ties can be assessed by a pediatric dentist and revised by laser through a quick, easy operation known as a frenectomy.
- Gum Disease. Gum disease is another contributor to teeth gaps. Gum disease creates extra space when teeth begin to loosen and move as a result of bone decay. Gum disease can occur at any age, and can usually be avoided through proper dental hygiene.
- Lack of Follow-Up Care. Even if you’ve corrected or filled a tooth gap, it’s important to continue a careful dental hygiene regimen to keep the gap from reoccurring.